21 October 2010

20 Sep. 2006

This was our first whole day on the island.  Needless to say, it was another eye-opening experience being surrounded by all the raucous seabirds.  They are EVERYWHERE... nesting on your window pane, underneath the buildings, and on every piece of bush.

Down by the boathouse, the crane was lined with young RED-FOOTED BOOBIES.  Walking underneath this devious bunch is a dangerous endeavor:

Many of the seabirds show a inquisitive side... here an adult RED-FOOTED BOOBY is gliding right overhead.  Sometimes, they come and willingly land on your hand!  Holding up a stick horizontally was more popular though:

Speaking of boobies, MASKED BOOBIES are another common species nesting on Tern Island.  Here is a youngster.  If I recall correctly, it took this guy a while to finally get the hang of flying...

This is our catchment pad which collects rain water (we used this water after it was filtered via reverse osmosis, etc):

Here is one of the larger bushes near one of the buildings with BLACK NODDIES and RED-FOOTED BOOBIES either nesting or starting to nest.  Along with GREAT FRIGATEBIRDS and WHITE TERNS, these 4 species are the only ones to nest IN the bushes:

If you look carefully at this next picture, you'll see a nesting Red-tailed Tropicbird!  These are a common nester but not as abundant as the other noddies, terns, boodies, and frigates.  These always nest on the ground and usually well under a bush or building:

The WHITE TERNS here are simply amazing.  I had seen footage of these before but never in person.  These are well known for their knack of laying their egg directly on a tree branch or narrow ledge.  No nest whatsoever!  Here, one is incubating its egg on a cement ledge on our main house:

When we arrived, the SOOTY TERNS were just finishing up (I believe).  In other words, I never did see the island with the max numbers (said to be 250,000 Sooty Terns)!  Instead, we would spot them singly:

Another one of the species that come to mind when thinking about these open oceanic islands are of-course the friagatebirds.  The abundant nesting frigatebird here is the GREAT FRIGATEBIRD.  Here is one perched in classic "vampire" posture on the seawall:

**An interesting note... we found a female LESSER FRIGATEBIRD here on Tern Island later in the season.  It apparently paired with a male GREAT FRIGATEBIRD.  Pretty interesting to witness!!

Another look at the seawall along the north side of the island, you can see several BROWN and BLACK NODDIES also perched:

The BROWN NODDIES here nest only on the ground (whereas Black Noddies nest only in bushes) which makes separating them very easy.  Brown Noddies were often very tenacious in defending eggs/chicks, often diving and actually hitting you!  Here is one that is clearly not very impressed with me being so close: